Tag Archives: blogging

What Now?

The big thing that’s been on my mind lately is where to go now, since that big, ugly blow-out. There’s been very little else, at least in regards to my blog. So I figure I might as well write about that, since that’s the thing on my mind.

I’m still frustrated and hurt, though it’s less acute now than it was when it was happening. A huge frustration for me is when people disagree with things I never said, but act like they are disagreeing with me. Luckily it’s not exactly SUPER common in my life (though I can think back to certain people who did this a lot), but it’s common enough and I find it PROFOUNDLY frustrating. I know at least part of it is my fault – sometimes it’s hard for me to be clear and sometimes I don’t spend as much time as I should making sure a post is clear to anyone, rather than simply who I imagine my audience to be. Sometimes I muck up my exformation and just assume that people will be able to fill in the blanks that I leave, because I think that it is so obvious that it goes without saying. Of course, blogging doesn’t work that way. Never think something is so obvious that it goes without saying.

And some of it is other people being well and truly awful, coming in with preconceived notions of what I meant and refusing to actually read my words they way they were intended and insisting on projecting their own issues onto me. This… probably shouldn’t surprise me. There is a lot of horribleness out there, and a lot of people are willing to engage in horrible behaviors regardless of whether or not they are horrible, and if a topic is sensitive enough people often have trouble because they have their own lenses they look at things through and if something doesn’t fit into that lens just right, they just blow up. Sometimes in hordes.

I don’t deal with that well. I’m sensitive. I’m also very unsure of how to respond. I mean, when I say, “blueberry pancakes don’t taste good to me” and then someone yells “HEY! Pancakes are nutritious! I disagree with you!” I get very confused. I wasn’t talking about the nutritional content of pancakes, what did I say that they are disagreeing with? I have yet to find a way out of that. If I say “um… I don’t think you understood what I was saying” I get accused of being whiny or acting like I believe they should just agree with me. If I get frustrated, people think I’m mad because they’re disagreeing with me and I clearly just can’t take disagreement. So more and more when that happens, I just back out of the conversation and try not to talk to those people anymore.

So… now what? I’ve done very little writing in the past several weeks (just this post, and the previous two that I posted) and I will admit, it’s been a load off my mind. Blogging is way more challenging than I ever really realized, and trying to push out two posts a week that are thoughtful and articulate and are saying something that I care about saying is hard. I have no idea how daily bloggers do it, I really don’t. As it is, the time I spent posting twice a week (and quite a bit of time before that) involved thinking about my blog every day, often for several hours a day. While the rewards have been great – a slowly growing readership, gradual increases in the amounts of comments I get (please never feel like you comment too much. as long as you aren’t hateful and awful, I LOVE comments. they help make all this writing worth it), the belief that I am helping a at least a few people out there. I am advocating, and I care about that. But with short but intense lashback, it’s become more difficult to see those rewards in the face of the effort I put in. I keep hoping this will change at some point, but right now it’s still difficult. It’s hard to try to advocate when my words are twisted and mangled and thrown back in my face.

In the meantime, I do still have 11 posts in my pending queue from before all this happened waiting to be posted, and at the very least I want to get those out there. I don’t want to quit – blogging is great and I like to write very much and I still hope to someday have many more followers – but, well, I’m not sure where to go from here. I’m not even sure how to continue. What if I’m just too sensitive to face the awfulness of the world? I’ve always been a wallflower, and even now I tend to stay on the edges. Putting myself out there and trying to make myself heard is incredibly difficult – I am not one of those charismatic people who seem to be able to make others listen, and on some level I just believe that I am not the kind of person who will ever be even a little bit known. I’m just me, not that special.

And, you know, if that’s what being known is like, do I really want it anyway?

So… I don’t know. I do think that if I do continue I’ll need to make some actual posting guidelines – something I had avoided because I kept telling myself I wouldn’t need them. Basically, they would say that if you’re going to disagree with me, do so respectfully. Write it out, let me know, maybe we can have a conversation about it. Maybe I’ll learn something, or maybe it’ll turn out that you thought I was talking about the nutritional content of pancakes when I was just trying to talk about my preferences for blueberries or lack thereof, and maybe we’ll just plain disagree with each other. Hatefulness, though, is just not gonna fly. And if people think hateful commenting counts as respectful disagreement, well, that’s their problem, not mine.

Still, there’s a lot of uncertainty. What do you think?

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Blogging and Vulnerability

Here, enjoy a not-at-all relevant picture of some yarn I spun on my spindle. Woo hoo!

I’ve been doing my once a week blog postings for over a year now. I’m starting to notice that even though I’m in a tiny little barely-noticed corner of the internet, blogging once a week is having an impact on my life.

I do want to be noticed. I have a fantasy that someday my blog will have lots of readers because I’ll be saying things that resonate with people, or help them, or that they simply enjoy reading. So I think about this, and what I want to say, and how I can make my blog enjoyable and accessible and the kind of thing that people will share with their friends, who will share with their friends, and so on and so forth. Which means a lot of looking at the bloggers who have managed that and what I can learn from them.

Some of it is simple things, like making sure my posts have a picture so there is something to look at besides words. I know I like it when blog posts have pictures, and I doubt I’m unique in that, so I spend lots of time looking through various creative commons licensed pictures trying to find ones that fit my posts. I don’t always succeed, but it’s nice when I do.

I’ve also noticed that successful bloggers – or at least, the bloggers that I most enjoy reading (or watching if they do video blogging), really put themselves into what they are saying. They get up in front of the whole internet and proceed to be honest, sometimes downright vulnerable. How scary that must be! But in doing so they come across as genuine and real, so when they say something I find myself wanting to listen.

So I wonder if or how I should emulate that.

And then I watch a video about closeness and vulnerability and feeling worthy. In the video, Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work, talks about how she decided to sit down and figure out the hows and whys of people feeling loved and like they belonged. Her conclusion? That those who feel that way believe they deserve to feel that way, and they treat vulnerability as simply how that happens, rather than as something terrifying to be avoided. And I watch that video and I don’t want it to apply to me. I tell myself that it’s for neurotypicals and I’m on the autism spectrum and things are different for me.

Yeah, that’s a bunch of bull.

Not that things aren’t different for me, because they are. But the fundamental laws about how closeness functions and how we get there still apply to me, because they apply to everybody. And then I wind up thinking about how much I avoid vulnerability, or I dole it out in carefully controlled amounts because I don’t want to deal with the uncertainty of how people will respond. I fear that the response will hurt, and I fear that I deserve that hurt because of how different and weird and often clueless I am. I tell myself (or worry or fear) that people don’t actually want to see that vulnerable side of me so it’s best for everyone if I keep it hidden away, and in so doing I make it that much harder to form those close, intimate connections that I crave so much.

So I write, because ultimately I am trying to be a blogger and writing is how that gets done. I have to write and keep writing. It means writing when I’m inspired to write and writing when I’m NOT inspired to write but if I’m going to have something ready in time I’d better get typing. Plus I think better when I write and I like to write and my brain sorts itself out in writing in different and better ways than in other types of thinking, so blogging gives me more push to do a thing that I really should be doing anyway. It gives me structure and a goal and a public voice, and it makes me think about things that maybe I wouldn’t otherwise think about, and makes it harder to dismiss things that maybe I would have otherwise dismissed because they are uncomfortable.

And because it’s a blog, once in a while I post what I write so that anyone who stumbles across my little corner of the internet can see some little glimpse of me, and I can hope that they got something out of it.

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